2019-02-18 10:00:00 CEST
They should have warned me….
Playing beach volleyball as a pastime to enjoy a day at the beach with friends is one thing – but choosing it as your career is another thing altogether.
Here are six things nobody tells you about being a pro beach volleyball player. It’s hard work, man.
1. You need to replace your vacuum cleaner and washing machine way too often.
Let me just start off by saying that replacing one or both of these items at all is already too often.
Empty out all your training bags = center court a-la-living-room.
Most people buy a vacuum-cleaner or washing machine once – because it’s something that lasts. At least for a couple of years (10) right? Wrong! In fact, I’ve never met another person in my generation that’s even had to replace a vacuum-cleaner or washing machine. They should honestly create more industrial grade vacuum cleaners and washing machines. And if there are home electronics companies out there thinking “Oh I can’t sponsor an athlete can I?” – Yes you can! Yes you CAN!
2. Sun damage is a real thing
Chances are you know every type of sunscreen and brand under the sun, and of course you have your favs. But when you spend most of your career in the sun, it takes its toll. Can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m probably going to age really badly, but it’s not all bad, at least I have a great body, right?
3. Justifying and explaining your job
Yes I am a beach volleyball player. Yes I am a real athlete. Yes it is my job. Yes you can make a living out of it. No, it’s not just a fun sport for the beach! No I don’t have another job. Yes I play beach volleyball every day.
Would you believe it if I told you, that beach volleyball is a recognized Olympic sport? Not only that but we have federations, tournaments, sponsors and more. If I got a dollar for every time I’ve had to explain this to people outside of the beach volleyball community, Warren Buffett who?
4. It’s all about the money or lack thereof
Well you know in other sports where all your travel and expenses are paid for by your club or federation or sponsors, well no. I shouldn’t say no but not always. Let’s just say, in beach volleyball, it isn’t always given that all these things will be taken care of. This sucks when you’ve got tournaments all over the world that you need to fly to. Beach volleyball players are known to spend thousands of dollars on flight tickets and sometimes, unfortunately, we don’t always make it to the money rounds. But (there’s always a but) there is a plus-side - we are able to travel to some of the most beautiful locations around the world.
5. Sponsor Gate
Okay, gate is the wrong word here (but sounds cool). Acquiring sponsors is a full time job you guys. It is literally the last thing I think about before I go to bed and the first thing I think about when I wake up. How can I get more sponsors? How can I get my existing sponsors to give me more money? Can an airline sponsor me unlimited flights to and from tournaments for an entire year? Can a vacuum company or washing machine company sponsor me? See points 1 and 5.
6. Thinking about the career after my career
Like most athletes, we age (like everyone actually – aging isn’t something reserved especially for athletes).
As much as we’d like to, we can’t play beach volleyball forever. Younger athletes are coming up strong and if you’ve been in the game for a while, you will get to a point where you realize that you aren’t as fast as you used to be and you don’t react as quickly as you used to either – then reality sets in. I can’t do this forever and I haven’t earned enough cash to retire (I’m not that old either so I think I need to work). A lot of athletes need to think about having a career after retiring. What’s next for me? Coaching? Working at the federation and helping the sports development at a grassroots level? So yes, there is a chance that we will start another career once we’ve retired from the world of sport.
It’s been real guys. There you have it, I could honestly go on and on for ages, and there are so many points that still need to be mentioned but let’s save that for part two.
World Tour winners and joy in Joao Pessoa
One-star glory for Dykstra/House in Cambodia